Helping the Homeless

By: Philip Stewart Email
By: Philip Stewart Email

September 14, 2007

Homelessness is growing in Charlottesville. That's according to the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless.

But the organization is also working to help reduce the number of people living on the streets.

At the First Presbyterian Church on Park Street Friday evening people were exchanging ideas and trying to solve the problem of homelessness in Charlottesville.

"By bringing people together tonight on a different schedule, we hope that people could communicate in ways that they haven't before, and I think we've accomplished that," said Jeff Cornelius.

"People just don't know why people are homeless, so we just wanted to raise awareness and to educate people," added Mary Washington.

According to recent statistics, three out of four of those living on the streets of Charlottesville are men. And the average age overall is around 41 years-old.

And as to why they're homeless, two out of three cite the lack of affordable housing.

"Who can afford it," asked Washington. "You've got to have two jobs, two people working just to be able to live within the City of Charlottesville. And it does contribute significantly to homelessness."

All of the groups in attendance Friday offer programs or services for people living on the streets, whether help with substance abuse, or providing warm clothes.

"This country and this community especially are overall very well off, but there are some people who have fallen through the cracks," said Cornelius.

It's tough to get an accurate count of just how many people are living on our streets, partly because the number is always changing. But nonetheless, the volunteers say this is a real problem that needs real attention.

To find out how you can help, visit the link posted below.


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